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A change in mental health

by Vicky Bassett

Having been a sufferer of depression for more than 20 years, I have found myself in the last six months living a daily life that has altered hugely. I have made one small change in my life and it has made such a difference to my state of mind. I feel that this could have a positive effect on others out there who have found themselves suffering as I did.

A pet, I decided this year to get myself a pet. It was something I had mulled over for the past few years, all the reasons to say yes and do it, and all the excuses to not. After talking it through I decided to go ahead. I was in a position where I could take care of a dog and living on my own, I was very much looking forward to having company in the house.

Little did I know the true extent of the difference having a pet would make to my life. Don’t get me wrong it’s not an instant fix. Having a dog hasn’t meant that I can say ‘I am all better now, problem solved’, I still get days when things are more difficult than usual, but it has definitely had an impact on my mental wellbeing and also my physical health. Inadvertently in caring for the dog daily and making sure his needs are met, I have impacted on my own life and needs that I was not addressing in the past.


I would quite often think ‘oh it’s a nice evening I will go for a walk’ this would often just remain a thought in my head. Now making sure the dog gets walked and time to toilet means that it is nothing for me to be out a couple of hours throughout a day.


Having a dog with me when out and about has definitely increased the amount of people I interact with. ‘He’s so cute, how old is he?’ is something I hear often when I am walking the dog and it has proven to be a great conversation starter. People will regularly stop to chat rather than walking by with a polite nod of the head, I often find myself in conversations with people. Attending training classes with my pup has also been a great way of meeting like-minded new people.


I had very often had bouts of feeling incredibly lonely over the years, having a dog has changed this dramatically. There is nothing like a wagging tail or a cwtch on the sofa to shake that feeling away. A dog can take up a lot of your time but for me this has been such a positive addition to my routine. Caring for him and making sure he is getting the things he needs has made me feel calmer as now I have less time to sit and worry about things that would normally have sent me into a tizzy.

These are just a few things that I have noticed over the last 6 months that I wanted to share. Depression is a horrible and exhausting problem that will take over your life if you let it. If you’re a sufferer and have the means to take on a pet please do give it some thought it could change your life for the better, it certainly has for me.

by Vicky Bassett

I started in Burns in 2007 and I have worked in various areas of the company. I have been on the nutrition team for 4 years and I love helping people with their nutritional queries, being office based has also given me time to do several courses such as Canine Anatomy and Physiology.